Robot 6

Quote the Day #2 | Eric Stephenson on the joys of discovery

“… Without going all old man on everyone, I grew up in a time when you could still go to the movies or sit down to watch something on TV without knowing everything there was to know about it beforehand. Trailers didn’t give everything way, you couldn’t download an album a month before it was out, and you weren’t reading solicitation copy for comics that wouldn’t be out for another three months. It’s like – I saw Star Wars in the theater based off a couple television commercials. I saw a lot of movies just because I liked the way the posters looked, or because they sounded cool. I picked up my first issue of X-Men the same day I bought a used copy of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars with money I’d earned mowing lawns and I didn’t have clue one what either were about prior to the moment I flopped onto my bed to read the one while listening to the other. They both had an immediate impact on me – it was like entering two completely different worlds at once. It’s harder to do that now, because both entertainment and information are transferred so quickly now and maybe withholding information will backfire on us, but I think trying to create something for people to discover is worth a try.”

– Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson, explaining his resistance to providing details
about his upcoming series Nowhere Men



go for it man! I hope it works!

He’s right, discovering something new is much better than filling your head with spoilers and letting blogs and critics discover it for you. On the other hand, there’s so much media and entertainment competing for our dollars, we want to feel like we’re getting our money’s worth and stuff is so expensive. Just buying on blind faith can be a waste, you can throw quite a lot away on experimenting.

They’re in a tricky situation because they have to promote something well enough that readers can feel confident in their purchase but not SO thoroughly that there’s no joy in the experience of figuring it out yourself. I think they’re managing that tightrope walk pretty well, actually. I’m a big, big fan of what Eric has done with Image lately. More power to them!

Patton Oswalt wrote a similar article a few years ago about how the internet has destroyed any sense of discovery. The experience of finding a book, movie, or piece of music and then following through with that interest and delving into an artist’s back catalog over a long passage of time has now been condensed into the few minutes it takes to download someone’s entire artistic library. While true, the article came off a bit like “in MY day…” at times, but still resonant and funny.

berk –

The only constant throughout history is that old and/or middle aged people will ALWAYS feel it was better when they were in their teens and twenties, never mind the fact the fact that life was more difficult, it was better BECAUSE it was more difficult (cue Dana Carvey’s “grumpy old man” character… “We walked 20 miles to school, uphill both ways, in the snow… and we LIKED IT!”) These are entirely subjective evaluations, of course, they should always be taken with a grain of salt. I think a lot of them are born of the fact that everything is innately a hundred times MORE AWESOME when you’re at that specific age and therefore more receptive to new, cool shit.

On the other hand, Patton Oswalt isn’t entirely wrong, either. People my age are literally the absolute youngest people who will ever be able to say we experienced learning about art and culture JUST before the internet changed everything so I can say personally that he’s kind of got a point. Art and culture was more about depth than breadth back in the day – you listened to fewer bands but you listened to those bands with more intensity and more thoroughly. You watched fewer movies but you poured your attention into those movies totally. Now, everything is about speed of experience – a wider variety of stuff is available to you but it has to be consumed at this ridiculous, hyperactive ADD pace that comes close to rendering it meaningless. Sometimes I have to purposefully turn off the computer and digital devices entirely and pick up a paper book and disallow myself distractions just to feel like I’m enjoying it as wholly as possible.

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